Our homes are an expression of our style. For this reason, we decorate them seasonally, make sure they’re clean before guests arrive, and fill them with the things (and people) we love. However, taste and style change—it’s a normal part of life and experience. In fact, the evolution of our style is frame-worthy accomplishment. But how can we take something like style, and showcase it in a meaningful way?
You may already have an idea if you’re reading this blog. Because our homes are such an important part of our identity, it’s important they accurately reflect how we want to be seen. Sure, the futon had its day, but you’ve moved on to grander things (perhaps a piano would look impressive in place of a futon?), and why shouldn’t your home gleam with your accomplishments?
One way to bring your home up to date with you and/or your family’s image is remodeling. A recent study of 2,000 people found 72% of those surveyed were unhappy with their home, and the majority of them were unhappy with things that could be fixed or changed. And that’s where remodeling comes to play. If we’re uncomfortable with the style and functionality of our homes, it can negatively impact our mood. Home is where your family, your friends, your pets, and your appliances are; that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use an update.
So you agree, it’s time for a positive change. It’s time to remodel your cluttered bathroom into a bathing oasis—to relax in after those long work days. Not to mention, the caulk is starting to show its age (embarrassing!). Perhaps you could benefit from finishing the basement, where a home theater will await your loved ones on family fun night? It doesn’t matter what changes you need, because when it comes to remodeling, every change is a step forward.
However, remodeling isn’t something you walk into with your eyes closed. Before remodeling, research needs to be done. That’s why you’re here, and it’s a good thing you are! Most people aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to remodeling, and that’s okay. We’re not all interior design-savvy, but with all of the information available to us on the internet in the 21st century, we don’t need to be. Furthermore, we’ve taken the most important information when it comes to remodeling, and compiled it here in our blog for you.
The rest of this blog post will give you all the information you need to proceed with your remodeling project. The most important step is recognizing your home needs changes to suit you and/or your family, and with that in mind, continue on to…
THE COST OF REMODELING
Cost is the biggest factor to many in remodeling. The assumption is the cost of the work in question will be high, and the money would be better spent elsewhere. The problem with this train of thought is it treats remodeling as an object, rather than an investment. And yes, remodeling is an investment—one of the best investments to be made. In fact, a 2015 Cost vs Value Report shows the costs recouped on remodeling in homes sold in the Washington, DC and surrounding areas are higher than the national average. Cost recuperation on remodeling homes nationally is high, with the cost of most remodeling projects recouped by at least 70%. And the investment is even more solid in the Mid/South Atlantic.
So we know selling a home with remodeling will increase its value. But what about those who aren’t planning on selling? In this case, remodeling is still an investment, but in comfort and well-being rather than resale value. These may not be tangible things, but they are just as important. No one is comfortable with cramped tubs, stained counters, or molding basements (Yes, mold. You know, the stuff that grows on the water that leaks in when it rains).
It’s especially important that your home reflects your wants and needs if you don’t plan on selling, as that means you likely plan on living in it for a long time. You’ll be thanking yourself for finishing that basement into a spare bedroom when your grandchildren come to visit. And while the topic of family and friends is being visited, what will become of the house when you die? Nobody wants to think of that day, but whoever is given ownership of your home after you pass should receive it in good shape. If keeping the home in the family is important to you, a remodeled home is less likely to be seen as a costly burden, but rather a loving gift.
So far, we’ve established the importance of evaluating the cost of remodeling in terms of investment. Next, we’ll cover goals.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM REMODELING
This will vary greatly depending on the project, and the reason behind remodeling. For instance, there are different goals and expectations for an aesthetic remodel (that is, a remodel done for appearance purposes) vs. a remodel done for energy efficiency/going green (organic materials, solar power, etc). When deciding to move forward with a remodeling project, you should have a clear goal in mind. Some questions to ask yourself:
- Do I want my home remodeled for appearance, functionality, or both?
- Will my project only affect structure (walls, floors, etc), or furniture/appliances as well?
- Can I visualize the completed project?
Before beginning the dirty work, you should have a clear answer to all three of these questions in your head, and your contractor should be clear on your expectations as well. If you know remodeling needs done in your home, but you’re having trouble coming up with solid answers to those three questions, look to your contractor for inspiration and advice. Many times, they can take your ideas and turn them into the masterpiece you were searching for.
Still, you should keep in mind that..
REMODELING ISN’T REDECORATING
At least, not in terms of permanence. Remodeling can, and often does, change appearance. However, we’re not talking about just a nice coat of paint. Remodeling goes deeper—into the floors, into the walls, and even into the ceiling. Most remodeling is permanent (unless you remodel again), so keep that in mind when putting your goal and vision together. Dark floors look luxurious, but they show everything; was extra time or money spent keeping them nice in your considerations? And yes, a chandelier is a wonderful addition to an entryway.. but who will be climbing the ladder to dust it, or change bulbs?
When the holiday season is over, and you’ve run out of cheer, those decorations can go into storage. But when you tire of climbing out of a clawfoot tub, it’s still going to be there. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with clawfoot tubs; actually, many people who remodel their bathrooms to include a clawfoot tub love them and have no regrets. But just like anything in life, tubs are subject to preference, and you should know what yours is ahead of time.
An experienced contractor will inform you of possible conflicts in your project, and see red flags as they pop up. Still, no one knows your style, taste, and expectations better than you do. Make sure you’re researching all your decisions, and letting your contractor know everything you have in mind—as clearly as possible. When dealing with installing a kitchen island, you don’t want a miscommunication over countertop material. That white marble is there for the long haul.
If you’re smitten with the white marble, the next thing to consider is when you want white marble countertops.
YOU DON’T WANT TO REMODEL YOUR BATHROOM NEXT SUMMER
It’s a common thought pattern: out with the old, in with the new! Summer is full of life and energy. But summer is also the best time of year for socializing. Family and friends come to visit, parties are thrown, guest rooms are utilized, and the home is as vibrant as the season. Imagine telling your guests they have to visit the neighbors to use the bathroom because yours is being remodeled.
Remodeling should be done before the warmer months. In fact, the best time to begin remodeling your home, especially in the Baltimore, DC and Montgomery County area, is in autumn and winter. Sure, outdoor projects such as patios can—and should—wait until it’s warm out, but indoor projects should be tackled in the cooler months. That way, your basement-turned-deluxe-theater-room will be put to good use come baseball season.
Timing is very important when it comes to remodeling. If your project is larger, it can take a considerable amount of time to finish. The following remodeling projects should be scheduled for autumn and winter:
- Kitchen remodeling
- Bathroom remodeling
- Basement remodeling
- Painting and Drywall
- Garages and garage additions
Most other things can be easily completed in the spring or summer. However, if you have any doubts, ask the contractor. If they’re experienced in remodeling, they’ll be able to tell you exactly when the best time to begin your project will be. If your contractor doesn’t have a clue, you’re working with the wrong company. Choose an experienced company that will anticipate your questions and concerns, and have an answer for all of them.
HOW DO I FIND A GOOD CONTRACTOR?
The internet is your guide when it comes to finding the right contractor for you. Remodeling is an investment, so you want the end result to be perfect. Look for online reviews of their services, and ask around about the company (if they’re local). A company with experience, testimonials, a solid portfolio, and a well-designed webpage will offer you the best experience with your remodeling project.
Matthews Construction & Design has over 40 years of experience in all of the above. Quality and customer satisfaction are their top concerns, so you can be sure your remodeling project will be built flawless—to the trim. Call (202) 702.3553, or fill out the form online for a free estimate. If you’re ready to put your remodeling project into gear, Matthews Construction & Design is ready to build the best investment you’ve ever made.
Servicing the Baltimore, DC, and Montgomery County area.